Snus is a Swedish tobacco product that has been used for many hundreds of years' and is arguably the reason for Sweden's low figure of smokers. It comes in various forms, but the most common type is as tobacco portions that are to be placed under the top lip where they are incredibly discreet. The snus portion will lie snuggly for about 45 minutes, or until the nicotine release has faded in which it is ready to come out. Many see snus as a healthier way to enjoy tobacco and nicotine since it is smoke-free. But how did this traditional tobacco product even reach the UK?

A few years' back the world watched Jamie Vardy exit the team hotel during Euro 2016, casually carrying a red bull in one hand and a round, black tin in the other. The paparazzi hurriedly snapped a few pictures and skilfully zoomed in on a wording that was as clear as day – Thunder snus. The next day Mr Vardy saw his picture on practically every front-page tabloid in the UK and was quickly made aware of what a huge scandal this was. Of course, snus isn't in any way illegal to carry or use in the UK although its sales have been banned by the EU since 1992, but it is evidently frowned upon and especially when carried by athletes. The event created a ripple-effect and suddenly there were footballers all over England being seen with a can of snus and many explained how it was introduced by Swedish players in locker-rooms. Before we knew it, the popularity of snus spread all over the UK and is much bigger in English football than people realize, as reported by the BBC.

Which types of Snus are available to the UK?

Many English snusers began their snus journey on occasions where their regular pack of smokes was difficult to consume. Afterall, cigarettes are no longer socially accepted and smoking bans have made it rather difficult to light one up. But because of the stringent EU Snus Ban that prohibits snus from being sold to the UK, another, modern sibling to Sweden's classic has taken form in Swedish snus factories – namely, the tobacco free nicotine pouch. The nicotine pouch has allowed UK residents to continue their nicotine usage without scrutiny as it is both legal and invisible under the top lip. But other alternatives that have been around for many years are also growing in popularity. So, what are the two main snus alternatives that can be purchased in and to the UK?

- Nicotine Pouches

The nicotine pouch offers a similar feel and experience as regular snus, minus the tobacco sensation. These have not only been produced for the UK market, but for anyone who might need to steer away from tobacco for some reason. This could be due to health reasons or simply a wish to maintain a more hygienic mouth feel. Nicotine pouches are offered in a wide range flavours and nicotine strengths that manufacturers have developed to speak to both the European and the International market.

- Tobacco & Nicotine Free snus

The second alternative is completely free from both tobacco and nicotine. These alternatives are popular for EU and UK residents trying to quit both cigarettes and snus. They often contain nutrients such as vitamin C, ginseng and other stimulants for a natural energy boost. These are also portioned into pouches that are to be placed under the top lip for best absorption.

Where might you find these alternatives? If you reside in the UK you will often find nicotine pouches in local vape shops, gas stations or even in some local pubs. In London, there are many vape shops that offer nicotine pouches and nicotine free options such as Kickup. For those who prefer to scroll through a more diverse assortment there are online stores such as Snusdirect that offer both nicotine pouches and tobacco/nicotine free alternatives.

Why are snus alternatives so popular in English Football?

Why are snus alternatives so popular in
Why are snus alternatives so popular in English Football Pixabay

It is no secret that sportsmen/women have been seen enjoying a cigarette on a night out, or even on their way to a game or sports event. But when snus was first introduced in locker rooms it introduced a smoke-free alternative to English footballers that did not impair lung capacity. Quitting cigarettes is hard, quitting nicotine is even harder and as a result many footballers are quashing their cigarette cravings using other nicotine products as a first step toward a smoke-free living. The negative media coverage of traditional snus that is banned by the EU, however, had footballers switch over to tobacco free alternatives such as nicotine pouches and tobacco/nicotine free snus. Below are 4 reasons why these smoke-free options have become so trendy in the UK:

  1. They are nearly invisible under the lip

Discreet usage has become an important factor in our increasingly health conscious society and especially when you are an athlete. The portion size of a nicotine pouch is typically thin and narrow, giving it a near custom-made fit under the lip and making it unnoticeable to on-lookers. Jamie Vardy wrote about nicotine pouches in his autobiography, mentioning that "some lads even play with them during matches" but also at the airport or while out socializing with friends. The small, round cans they come in are of pocket-friendly size making them easy to carry around.

  1. They don't affect lung capacity

This fact is a major one, for obvious reasons. All athletes rely heavily on lung capacity and are therefore keen on quitting their smoking habits to maintain healthy lungs. The on-going Covid-19 pandemic has placed smokers at even more risk which has resulted in smokers all over London trying to stub out their last cigarette. Although nicotine pouches, snus or any other smokeless alternatives will never be classified as healthy, they have nevertheless been reviewed in some countries as modified risk products that can help reduce the prevalence rate of smoking. Nicotine is even being investigated for its preventative properties against COVID-19, The Guardian reports. But not only that, nicotine pouches have made it possible for English footballers to continue using nicotine in a safer manner, without the hazardous effects of tobacco or smoking.

  1. They exist in many varieties

Not everyone wants a powerful nicotine kick, nor an ice-cool mint flavour along with it. Nicotine pouches exist in a huge variety of flavours and strengths to appeal to a broad audience. In English football there are often users who are looking to quit nicotine all together, something that they have found to be easier when alternating between strong and mild pouches. Eventually, this technique will leave users with only the low-level strength products that can finally be eased out until you are using only the tobacco/nicotine free versions.

  1. They cause no secondhand usage

One of the most awful effects of cigarette smoking is the way it is passed into the air and lungs of people around you. This is one of the major reasons why cigarettes have been banned in many places all over the globe. Nicotine pouches produce a potent nicotine kick to its user only - an attribute that has not only become popular on the fields of football practices but also in all of UK.